book review

Dead Calm by Inge Löhnig

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Release Date: May 18, 2017

When the body of a retired paediatrician is discovered in his weekend house on Lake Starnberg, it seems clear that his death was the result of a robbery gone wrong. But as Inspector Konstantin Dühnfort starts to investigate and details of how the man met his death are revealed, an altogether murkier series of events begins to emerge – one of torture, betrayal and cruelty, of complex sibling relationships and toxic parental ambition. With a family ripping at the seams, will Dühnfort be able to uncover what really happened?

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*Thank you Bonnier Zaffre and NetGalley for the copy. 

Dead Calm revolves around the investigation of the mysterious death of the pediatrician, Wolfram Heckeroth, which was found dead on his rental cabin. It seemed like a robbery has taken place which trashed the place and also resulted in the death of the old man. He was found tied to the radiator and believed was left alone to die. As the investigation progress, the inspector on the case, Konstantin “Tino” Dühnfort unveil more evidence that shows that it was not a robbery gone wrong but something darker and more personal. Meanwhile, the Heckeroth family was reeling with grief. Their mother just recently died of cancer, and now their father is also dead. Albert, the oldest child and also a pediatrician, was hit the hardest with his father’s death. Wolfram favored him more than his other siblings and he lives to please his father. Caroline, on the other hand, was shocked but she can’t seem to shed not a single tear to the man who she calls father but never been one to her. Bertram, the one everyone thinks is the black sheep of the family, is also the one the police suspected of having to kill his father. Apparently, he is having money problems and is close to losing his beloved home. Hence, he can easily have a motive, getting the inheritance. The fact that they don’t go along well doesn’t help. But is Bertram really capable of killing his own father? Aside from the grief, the family was also rocked by secrets their parents were keeping from them. Dark secrets that will change everything they thought they knew about both dead parents and might possibly be the reason for the murder of their father.   

Now, this one sure is an entertaining read. Because it don’t only focus on the mystery but it also tackles family drama and secrets revolving around said family. And boy, they have some daddy issues. It started really good immediately with Wolfram’s death and was followed by an investigation that is full of surprising twist and turn. I didn’t find it hard to guess who the culprit is, and mystery lovers will pick up on it easily, but it doesn’t take away my interest in the story. I still have to wonder what’s the reason behind it and everything in between is just as gripping.

It was told in three different point of views, Tino, Caroline, and Babs, Albert’s wife. It gives the reader a wider perspective not only on the investigation but also about how the Heckeroth family is like. I can’t seem to like any of the three and so are the Heckeroth family. They are one dysfunctional family, that’s for sure. And as the events unfold, I dislike Wolfram even more. As a father, he is a nightmare, and as a human being, he is totally horrible. No one will feel any sympathy for his death, that I can tell.

I really like how everything unravels with Dead Calm. The investigation is done thoroughly and every lead and evidence are as exciting as the first one. You will never know where it will lead and it’s a relief (smugness, more like) when it finally comes to revelation and your guess is verified. Or maybe that’s just me. The secrets are surprising and scandalous and it is intriguing to know how the characters will react to those secrets and how it will play out on the people involved.   

The plot may be pretty common but it will still hold your interest and will keep you reading until the end. Although, I’m not a fan of the ending. I believe the last chapter can be cut off and not give a cliffhanger ending. Still, it is a well-written mystery thriller story, so it will surely draw you in. It’s nice to read books set in different parts of the world, and this one is set in Germany. Dead Calm is also a part of the Kommissar Dühnfort series and it is actually the second book and translated into English. I am pretty sure mystery lovers will enjoy Dead Calm. I can honestly say that it is a good read.   

RATING: 4.5/5

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(*Photos and synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Purchase it on Amazon.com: Dead Calm (Kindle)

Purchase it on Amazon.co.uk: Dead Calm (Kindle)

Purchase it on Amazon.fr: Dead Calm (Kindle)

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